Seven things to see in Qatar this week
From immersive museums to public art installations, discover some of the best cultural highlights Qatar has to offer.
1. Museum of Islamic Art
Built on its own island on the waters of the Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art houses the biggest collection of Islamic art in the world.
It aims to create a deeper understanding of the Islamic culture, its traditions and heritage through the large selection of displayed pieces and it is easy to see why this is known as the crown jewel of Qatar’s museums.
2. Souq Waqif
Nestled in the heart of Doha is the capital’s oldest market, a labyrinth bazaar, Souq Waqif, the standing market.
Ceiling high shelves of colourful fabrics, troves of spices, perfumes and scented oils in every winding passageway hold hundreds of secrets.
The site dates decades back to when Bedouin and local traders would gather to buy and sell pearls, spices and livestock.
3. The Pearl
Today, when people think of Qatar’s economy, the oil and gas industry is probably their first thought — but Qatar’s reliance on oil is recent. In fact, historically, the pearl sector was the backbone of the country’s economy.
Did you know ‘The Pearl’ is built on one of the most important pearl diving sites in Qatar? Even the shape of the island resembles a string of pearls in homage to the country’s history.
In the Venetian-esque district, stroll by ice-cream coloured buildings under the glittering sun and enjoy glistening water canals as you check out some of the most Instagrammable spots in the country.
4. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Housing the personal collection of Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, over 15,000 pieces are gathered from his travelling expeditions, alongside over 600 vintage cars from around the world — potentially the largest collection in the world.
5. Purple Island
Situated on the northeast coast of Qatar, nature lovers can find enjoy the mangrove forest in shallow lagoons. Crossing a wooden bridge, see the small fish, crabs and numerous varieties of birds.
Despite its name, the island is wondrously green and the perfect spot to enjoy a stroll along the salt marshes.
6. National Museum of Qatar
Inspired by the desert rose, the eye-catching architecture of the museum was created with massive disks to resemble the cluster of crystals commonly found in the Persian region.
Visual and audio-visual elements can be found throughout alongside the artefacts, creating a more immersive and unique experience.
Among the exhibits is a 19th century carpet embroidered with 1.5 million Gulf pearls and the oldest Quran yet discovered in Qatar, dating back to the 1800s.
7. East – West / West – East
Standing over 14 metres high are four steel plates. The breathtaking sculpture in the Brouq nature reserve spans over a kilometre.
With his study of the topography of the land, artist Richard Serra beautifully enhances the vast desolate space in the heart of the desert leaving us with a timeless and spectacular result.
PHOTOS: Cover – Philip Lange/Shutterstock, 1 – Lingbeek/Gettyimages, 2 – Atlantide Phototravel/Gettyimages, 3 – Alizada Studios/Shutterstock, – 4 – Typhoonski/Gettyimages, 5 – Fauzan Fitria/Shutterstock, 6 – FRMEZ Martin Siegner/Gettyimages, 7 – Tim White/Gettyimages